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A dozen films from this year's festival that caught our eye

click to enlarge AU NOM DE MA FILLE (IN HER NAME)
  • AU NOM DE MA FILLE (IN HER NAME)

FEATURE FILMS

AU NOM DE MA FILLE (IN HER NAME)

87 minutes; Sat, Feb. 4 at 11:30 am, Magic Lantern Theatre

Inspired by a true story: André Bamberski is a man in search of the truth. When his 14-year-old daughter is found raped and murdered at the house of his ex-wife's new partner, a popular doctor, Bamberski is devastated and takes matters into his own hands. For 30 years, he tirelessly pursues his daughter's killer. His quest for justice becomes his obsession, even as a kind of omertà surrounds the suspected doctor, Dieter Krombach, and judges and friends urge him to give up. (CONNOR DINNISON)

CREEPY

130 minutes; Sat, Jan. 28 at 9 pm, Magic Lantern

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This Japanese thriller by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (The Cure, Bright Future) follows an ex-detective and his wife who move to a house, only to discover that their new neighbor seems a little off. When the detective's former colleagues ask for his help in solving a troubling case, he realizes that it might be connected to the creepy happenings next door. Expect some interesting and unexpected plot twists. (CHEY SCOTT)

DOLORES

90 minutes; Thu, Feb. 2 at 6:30 pm, Magic Lantern

The beautiful actress Dolores Moor is moving to Hollywood, but she's going to miss her beloved mid-century modern home. Enter Georg Letterer, an eccentric introvert whose passion is exquisitely detailed architectural modeling. Moor commissions Letterer to build a "perfect" replica of her house, a task that is to take a year to complete. But his obsessive detailing of her villa soon dovetails into an obsession with the actress herself and assumes a more sinister sheen when Letterer discovers, through changes in his meisterstück (masterpiece), that he has, in reality, the miraculous power to play puppet master to Moor and the home's visitors. (CD)

DIANI & DEVINE MEET THE APOCALYPSE

90 minutes; Fri, Feb. 3 at 7:30 pm, Bing Crosby Theater

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It's the apocalypse. Civilizational collapse, anarchy, the whole shebang. It's fight or flight and the hard-luck comedy duo (and couple) Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine head for the hills. In the face of disaster they struggle to save their sanity — and their relationship — from the clutches of scarcity, mistrust, self-degradation and gun-toting maniacs. How can two quirky creatives be useful in a violent and bizarre new world with no use for art? At least they have loyal companions in their dog, Watson, and cat, Mrs. Peel. (CD)

MÉDECIN DE CAMPAGNE (IRREPLACEABLE)

102 minutes; Sun, Jan. 29 at noon, Magic Lantern

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Jean-Pierre, a countryside doctor in rural France, is the last of his kind — or so he thinks. He's revered and universally loved by his patients. But there is no one in line to succeed him, until he falls ill and Nathalie, a young female doctor, arrives from the city hospital. Her differing take on medicine and confidence intimidates Jean-Pierre, who makes her introduction to the village inhabitants as uncomfortable as possible. But Nathalie is determined to win their acceptance and the approval of the man who deemed himself irreplaceable. (CD)

NISE: THE HEART OF MADNESS

106 minutes; Wed, Feb. 1 at 6:30 pm, Magic Lantern

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This Brazilian selection tells the story of Dr. Nise da Silveira, who refused to treat her mentally ill patients with barbaric methods like electroshock therapy and lobotomy, despite the ridicule she received from her colleagues. Instead, da Silveira chose to use occupational therapy, inspired by the psychology of Carl Jung, and opened a painting studio for her patients — a treatment that proved to be successful for many of the formerly neglected subjects. Based on historical events, this film tells the inspiring story of Dr. da Silveira — who was eventually recognized for her pioneering methods — and her patients. (CS)

OUR LOVE STORY (YEON-AE-DAM)

99 minutes; Sun, Jan. 29 at 6:30 pm, Magic Lantern

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South Korean art student Yoon-ju hasn't found love, at least not with a man. As she nears graduation she encounters a hip young woman, Ji-soo, first at a junkyard and again at the checkout counter of a convenience store. She's intrigued. As their paths continue to cross, her curiosity turns into enchantment and eventually infatuation, as the lives of the two women entwine. Friendship blossoms into romance and their illicit love affair alters the future of both Yoon-ju and Ji-soo forever. (CD)

THE WOMEN'S BALCONY (ISMACH HATANI)

96 minutes; Sun, Jan. 29 at 3 pm, Magic Lantern

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In an Orthodox enclave of Jerusalem, a devout Jewish community is at a crossroads. During a bar mitzvah celebration, a fateful accident tests their faith and sends the congregation into chaos. A balcony of women collapses and the rabbi's wife falls into a coma. The worshippers look to young Rabbi David for support and direction, but his domineering, traditionalist bent only divides, the men from their wives, the congregants from each other. Admiration quickly turns to distrust, and the tumult threatens to tear the synagogue apart. The women, however, have a plan to save it. (CD)

DOCUMENTARIES

DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS

73 minutes; Sat, Jan. 28 at 7 pm & Sun, Feb. 5 at noon, Magic Lantern

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A Domincan park ranger in the country's Sierra de Bahoruco National Park is found murdered in brutal fashion, struck down by a machete. But the death of Eligio Eloy Vargas wasn't random, as the man was believed to be investigating an illegal coal production site run by Haitians in protected Dominican forests. The murder mystery reveals tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over exploitation of natural resources in this film directed by Jake Kheel and Juan Mejia Botero. (DAN NAILEN)

KEDI

80 minutes; Mon, Jan. 30 at 6:30 pm, Magic Lantern

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This documentary about the hundreds of thousands of cats who freely roam the streets of Istanbul is either a cat lover's dream, or their worst nightmare — you know, because they don't have homes! Kedi, the Turkish word for cat, follows seven distinct feline personalities — Sari, "The Hustler"; Bengü, "The Lover"; Deniz, "The Social Butterfly"; and Psikopat, "The Psycho" to name four — through their daily interactions in the bustling, industrialized metropolis. (CS)


MIXED MATCH

95 minutes; Sun, Jan. 29 at 12:30 pm, Magic Lantern

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Director Jeff Chiba Stearns, scheduled to attend this screening, tackles the complexities of race in a unique way, telling the stories of mixed-race blood cancer patients struggling with finding bone marrow donors who match their genetic background. With the multiracial community being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the American melting pot, this documentary is timely, and likely to remain so for generations. (DN)

STRANGERS ON THE EARTH

96 minutes; Sat, Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm & Sun, Jan. 29 at 6 pm, Magic Lantern

American cellist Dane Johansen decides to make his pilgrimage along the famous Camino de Santiago in northern Spain with his instrument in tow, seeking a renewed outlook on the meaning of his own life — one he has realized is largely driven by his own ego — along with countless other pilgrims from all corners of the world. In this documentary, as Johansen walks and performs for his fellow travelers, he discovers alongside them that the many paths in life we each take are not so different. (CS)

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA WITH THE SPOKANE SYMPHONY

93 minutes; Sat, Feb. 4, at 7:30 pm, Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox

The Spokane Symphony provides a live accompaniment to the 1925 version of this classic tale, with Lon Chaney Sr. in the title role, which has recently been digitally remastered.

WORLD SHORTS

82 minutes; Sun, Jan. 29 at 3 pm, Magic Lantern

A collection of foreign language short films from around the globe. The five films, from Bulgaria, Iceland, Germany, France, Spain and Benin, range from comedy to drama.

U.S. AND CANADIAN SHORTS

91 minutes; Mon, Jan. 30, at 6:45 pm, Magic Lantern

A collection of seven English-language films, including documentary, comedy and drama.

ANIMATION SHOWCASE

95 minutes; Thu, Feb. 2, at 6:45 pm, Magic Lantern

This always-popular element of SpIFF features 10 animated films from around the world, including a pair of American-made pieces. Films range from 3 to 15 minutes in length.

BEST OF THE NORTHWEST

85 minutes; Fri, Feb. 3 at 5:30 pm, Bing Crosby Theater

Another favorite aspect of the festival is this program, this year bringing you seven films made by regional filmmakers, including Spokane artists.

EMERGING FILMMAKER SHOWCASE

Sat, Feb. 4 at 4 pm, Magic Lantern

A program of short films from young filmmakers, or those new to the field. Stick around after the screening for a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers. ♦

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